Welcome to the dream trimester, as most moms call it. The second trimester is when your body adjusts to the hormonal changes. Nevertheless, the body continues to change and there are several new things that you will encounter in these three months.
While nausea and hormone-related discomforts settle, the baby continues to grow. You begin to feel heavier by the day and may experience a lot of aches and pains.
The second trimester lasts from week 14 to week 27. This is when your body grows in size. You get halfway through your pregnancy in this stage. This means that the baby is growing and developing rapidly.
Here are some tips to deal with these changes and make the 2nd Trimester smooth sailing.
Second Trimester Symptoms and Changes
The changes and various symptoms that you experience internally and externally to accommodate the developing baby are follows:
- Weight gain is faster in this stage. You may gain between 0.5g to 1 kg each week depending upon the BMI.
- The belly begins to grow in size. As a result, you will experience body aches, pain in the abdomen, thighs and the groin.
- Pigmentation is common in this stage because of the hormonal changes. You will see a distinct dark line in the center of the belly going down to the pubic bone. This is called the linea negra. Dark patches will appear on the skin, particularly on the cheeks, the upper lip, nose, and forehead.
- The skin around the belly stretches and develops small tears leading to stretch marks. The skin also becomes itchy and dry.
- Water retention is quite common leading to swelling of the ankle, palms and even the face.
- The heart begins to pump more blood to support the growing baby. This leads to dizziness and even increases your heart rate. Increased blood volume leads to added issues like nasal congestion, bleeding gums, and a bleeding nose.
- The increasing weight of the belly leads to issues like varicose veins.
- The symptoms that persisted in the first trimester, such as morning sickness and fatigue will continue but will not be as severe.
- The breasts continue to feel swollen and tender. You will notice veins on the breasts more prominently. The areola and the nipples become darker as a result of pigmentation.
- Sleep will be disturbed as you will have to urinate more frequently at night. In addition to this, discomfort caused by the increasing weight, nasal congestion and the body aches will disturb your sleep pattern.
- Heartburn and constipation will persist through the second trimester.
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Second Trimester Pregnancy Care Tips on Diet
In the second trimester, the calorie intake should increase by 300 calories at least. This means that the daily calorie intake should be at least 2100-2200 calories. This is the stage when most of the baby’s organs develop. So, ensuring proper nutrition is a must.
Foods to Eat 2nd Trimester
- The most essential nutrients during the second trimester are Vitamin D, Calcium and Omega-3. These nutrients help the bones of the baby develop well and also give your bones the strength to bear the weight of the growing baby. Omega-3 helps in the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system.
- Folic Acid and Iron are the most important pregnancy nutrients. Make sure that you include green leafy vegetables in your diet to get these nutrients.
- 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables including carrots, green beans, broccoli and citrus fruits in large portions.
- 4 servings of dairy foods like milk and curd will give you the calcium that you need.
- At this stage, you need at least 75g of protein depending upon your body type. The best sources include lean meats, lentils, nuts, poultry, and eggs.
- Foods rich in fiber are a must to prevent heartburn and constipation.
Food to Avoid during 2nd Trimester
- Raw Uncooked foods
- Foods that are high in sugar
- Processed foods including packaged juices.
- Avoid seafood, especially fish because there is a risk of mercury contamination. These foods also increase the risk of issues like food poisoning.
- Unpasteurized milk and cheese
- Spicy foods and fried foods.
Second Trimester Pregnancy Care – Do’s and Don’ts
- To ease the backaches and leg pains, take warm baths. Make sure that baths are not too hot as it may affect the baby.
- In case you develop an aversion to any food that is essential for the baby, make sure that you speak to your doctor about pregnancy vitamins and supplements.
- Do not lift any heavy weights during this stage of pregnancy.
- Wearing compression socks can relieve issues like leg cramps.
- Ensure that you consume a lot of fluids to prevent water retention.
- The sleep cycle can be improved by trying to sleep on the left side with the belly and the thighs supported with a pillow.
- Try to get some sleep whenever possible even if it is during the day.
- Keeping the leg elevated whenever possible is a great way to reduce cramps and swelling.
- Do not take any medication without consulting your doctor.
- Smoking is extremely hazardous at this stage.
- Stay clear of chemical products including hair color, shampoos, etc. Try to use organic variants.
- Moisturize your skin regularly with natural and organic moisturizers.
- Wearing a good quality bra, of the right size, that supports your breasts will ease the discomfort. You can also use a cold pack that is covered with a cloth for relief.
- Wear comfortable shoes to prevent back pain.
- Wearing loose clothes made from natural fibers is recommended as you may feel warmer due to the surge of hormones.
- Make sure that you are physically active.
Warning Signs to Look Out For
- If you notice any of the following warning signs, make sure you call your doctor immediately as the may be signals of complications in early pregnancy:
- Vaginal bleeding, excessive nausea, high fever and extreme swelling of the limbs warrant a check-up.
- If dryness and itching of the skin are accompanied by along with fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea, it can be an indication of liver-related issues.
- Sudden swelling of limbs and sudden weight gain, over 1kg a week, is a sign of a condition called preeclampsia.
Tests During Second Trimester
The tests that take place during the second trimester are as follows:
- Routine checkup including weight, size of the uterus, height of the top of the uterus and the baby’s heartbeat.
- A level 2 ultrasound takes place between weeks 18 and 22 to check the development of the body.
- Glucose screening is done between weeks 24 and 28 to rule out gestational diabetes. In case it occurs, nutritional changes are recommended.
- Genetic screening such as NIPT and Amniocentesis are recommended to check for congenital diseases.
- Immunization for common health issues is recommended.
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